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Net Metering of electricity measures electricity flowing both directions at a location with solar panels. The customer still pays the appropriate customer charge for the billing period. Generation up to consumption for the billing period is credited at the retail rate (same rate as charged). For example, if generation is greater than the locations energy consumption only the customer charge will be billed. If consumption is greater than generation the 'net difference' will be billed. Excess energy produced by the solar system will be 'banked' by the utility for use in a future billing period. On April 30th of each calendar year, any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credit accumulated during the previous year shall be purchased by the electric utility at the average wholesale cost of power. Read about the Net Metering Interconnection Standards
Federal tax incentives to install renewable energy systems may be available; check with your tax advisor. Here is an informative fact sheet regarding the Washington State Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Credit, and a weblink to the Washington State Renewable Energy System Incentive portal. The Washington State program applies to the amount of renewable energy produced by the customer owned system. The State Renewable Energy Incentives website also has information about customer-owned solar systems.
Buy locally produced solar power. Electricity generated from the Ellensburg Renewable Energy Park will be sold in 100 kWh blocks on a first come, first serve basis for a $3.00 per month upgrade premium. The City can only sell as much power as we generate. The City has up to 375 units to sell to customers who want to receive this power. We maintain a waiting list if there is sufficient demand.
The renewable rates are voluntary, require no contracts, and you can opt-in or opt-out monthly. The City's electric utility does not make a profit from the Renewable Energy Rates. All revenue goes towards maintenance of the Ellensburg Renewable Energy Park and renewable energy education.
Customers interested in supporting renewable energy are encouraged to fill out our online application to purchase solar energy generated at the Ellensburg Renewable Energy Park or to make contributions.
To make a one-time direct donation to support the Renewable Energy Park Email us or call 509-962-7124.
The Ellensburg Renewable Energy Park was built between 2006 and 2013. The solar generating facility was the nations first Community Solar Project and was built in 4 phases totaling 110 kW of solar panels. Two different technologies of solar panels were used, polycrystalline on the left and thin film on the right to demonstrate the difference in output of the two types of panels. The $7.75 per watt cost of solar equipment when it was built was much higher than it is today. In 2015 the cost of solar components has dropped below $5.00 per watt for made in Washington components making solar more affordable to more people.
In January 2015 Ellensburg City Council authorized an expansion just east of the present systems. The expansion added 8 - 245 foot long arrays each of which has 180 - 270 watt modules for a capacity of 48.6 kW or a total of 194.4 kW. Take a minute to view power generation at the Park. Total construction cost of $489,000 or $2.51/watt equates to about $0.12 per kWh power cost.
Ellensburg gets a large amount of its energy from renewable sources, mostly hydroelectricity. Ellensburg is a power generator, too, with the Renewable Energy Park located at the western edge of Rotary Park. Since the expansion (Phase 3) was energized in April 2017 total generation for Phases 1, 2 & 3 totaling 304 kW at the Renewable Energy Park in 2017 was 231,497 kWh with a wholesale value of $9,385. In 2016 the overall average consumption of all residential customers was 8,844 kWh per year. That includes residences with natural gas as their primary or partial space and or water heating source. 231,497 / 8,844 = about 26 residences and 0.11% of our BPA purchases for that period.
For those who want to support renewable energy on a sustaining basis, Ellensburg offers a voluntary renewable energy rate.
City Applying For Funding
The City of Ellensburg is applying for community project funding to fund several additional projects related to renewable energy generation. A detailed description of projects proposed in the application is available here.